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Parking the bus, Rovers style.


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McCoist: Rovers will park the bus, Rangers must hit top gear to continue cup journey

ALLY McCOIST today warned his Rangers players he expects Albion Rovers to shut up shop again in their William Hill Scottish Cup replay.

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Matthew Lindsay Sports Journalist

Monday 17/03/2014

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McCoist enjoyed victory over Dunfermline at the weekend ahead of tonight

McCoist's men take on their part-time rivals in front of the Sky Sports cameras in the quarter-final replay at New Douglas Park this evening.

The Glasgow giants were fortunate to earn a 1-1 draw at Ibrox eight days ago after struggling to break down the Coatbridge club's packed defence.

And McCoist expects James Ward's side to adopt exactly the same ultra-defensive approach despite being at home tonight.

McCoist said: "Watching them against ourselves on Sunday, and having watched their previous games against Stenhousemuir and Motherwell in particular, they played the exactly same shape. I don't see them changing it."

He added: "I think they'll set up the same way with the 4-1-4-1 with Ciaran Donnelly sitting in front and will be extremely difficult to break down once again."

After conceding a soft goal early on in the first game against Albion Rovers eight days ago, Rangers battered their League Two opponents.

But it took a highly controversial equaliser from Bilel Mohsni late on to scrape a draw.

McCoist knows his charges will have to be far more clinical in the final third tonight to book a semi-final slot against Premiership Dundee United at Ibrox.

And with so much at stake for the cash-strapped Govan club, he says the meeting with the Cliftonhill minnows is "arguably our biggest game of the season".

The manager said: "We will gave to be a lot sharper on the ball than we were last Sunday.

"Now we have an opportunity to put things right, but we'll have to do things a lot better than we did in the first game in terms of taking our chances if we want to win."

Meanwhile, McCoist thanked fans for their continued backing following the 2-0 win over Dunfermline - but declined to comment on their show of support for Dave King at the Scottish League One match.

The majority of the Ibrox crowd held up blue cards, distributed by The Union of Fans, on 18 and 72 minutes to back reinvestment by the former director.

The South Africa-based businessman is in Glasgow for talks with the board and fans groups.

McCoist is due to hold crunch talks with chief executive Graham Wallace this week.

And he admitted King would probably be on the agenda.

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"I think they'll set up the same way with the 4-1-4-1 with Ciaran Donnelly sitting in front and will be extremely difficult to break down once again."

Finding it difficult to break down a part time mob who's players are all out working no doubt today concerns me.

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Definitely need to play through it on the ground; was proven on Sunday that long-high balls didn't work against them, but it was also proven by us on the Wednesday night, that we actually can play attractive football along the ground, so I hope Ally gets them playing short passes, with a bit of creativity.

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Play it on the ground score first and force them to come out.

We MUST score first get them on the back pedal from the start so they can't park the bus and have to come out their little safe haven.

I want to do these bastards!

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Getting round the outside of them would appear to be the option if unable to show the guile/skill to pass through them, however we have enough or should have to dismantle any ramshackle bus.

If the players would start playing closer together that would help them pass and move. All too often you see Black or Law with the ball and no one within 30 or 40 yards to pass to.

That said the way we set our team out isn't exactly helping either.

Full backs have to be utilised more tonight and not just concentrating on the left with Wallace all night.

Midfield have to dictate a higher tempo of play right from the start but i fear it will falter the minute we look for the forward ball to Daly. His movement is slow and predictable and easily countered by an alert and well drilled defence.

Keeping Daly on the bench would throw a curveball to the opposition as they will be set up to do exactly what they did at Ibrox.

Do they have a Plan B if god forbid we have one?

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If the players would start playing closer together that would help them pass and move. All too often you see Black or Law with the ball and no one within 30 or 40 yards to pass to.

That said the way we set our team out isn't exactly helping either.

Full backs have to be utilised more tonight and not just concentrating on the left with Wallace all night.

Midfield have to dictate a higher tempo of play right from the start but i fear it will falter the minute we look for the forward ball to Daly. His movement is slow and predictable and easily countered by an alert and well drilled defence.

Keeping Daly on the bench would throw a curveball to the opposition as they will be set up to do exactly what they did at Ibrox.

Do they have a Plan B if god forbid we have one?

I hate to labour the point but we lack skill, I don't believe any of our players have anything near a first touch that doesn't depend on luck and hope, all the more reason they should be training more than two hours for four days out of seven.

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I think they (Albion) won't know what hit them tonight.

They think they can beat us. After all, they nearly did at IBROX. They will be confident and hopefully they think as long as they do more of the same then they'll beat us. Them playing at home is only going to boost that confidence.

However, we'll turn up and thump them I think. We simply can NOT play like we did. Pretty much anything will be better than last time. We'll show them what it's really like to play against The Glasgow Rangers!!

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Getting round the outside of them would appear to be the option if unable to show the guile/skill to pass through them, however we have enough or should have to dismantle any ramshackle bus.

Our problem is we try to play wide and teams just pack the middle. No short passes are available for our midfield 2, who are outnumbered by their 3. If we get it wide, the opposition just tighten up and put 2 on the ball player, closing down any options.

We should play much tighter, look to pass around them or draw the inevitable free kicks early.

And we really miss a midfielder making deep runs to break their high lines, or having a fast striker to make the diagonal in behind. Little was great at that and was the difference.

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I hate to labour the point but we lack skill, I don't believe any of our players have anything near a first touch that doesn't depend on luck and hope, all the more reason they should be training more than two hours for four days out of seven.

Everyone knows we lack skill but they have a decent standard they are not adhering to. I also think we have missed the drive of McLeod in the centre of midfield when we played our best football.

We still have more than enough to beat Albion Rovers though and that's the main point...IF we play to our strengths which the manager clearly doesn't either know or care about.

He has an attacking midfielder in Law and he also has Crawford who plays that position. If he sets his team up properly to utilise their strengths we should prevail quite easily.

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